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at thirteen. The ideal of the scribes, who were the main teachers,
was that every Jew should have an intimate knowledge of the
Law, and since that was impossible, the next best thing was to
get as many youths as they could for disciples. These disciples
met their teacher (whom they addressed as Rabbi, " my master ")
in a place called the 1 louse of Teaching* In Jerusalem the House
of Teaching was in the Temple ; elsewhere it was sometimes in
the synagogues, sometimes in a special meeting-place with the
same legal privileges as the synagogues. The chief difference
between the education at this stage and that of the ordinary school
was in its greater extent. The students had to know not only the
written Law, but also the thousands of precepts of the oral law
which had grown up in the course of time in explanation or in
supplement of it. The primary method of teaching was repeti-
tion, first by the teacher, then by the pupil But in addition to
this, there were also disputations on all manner of subjects, very
much like the disputations that played so large a part in the
mediaeval universities. (We hear an echo of these in the questions
put to Jesus by the scribes and others: for example, with regard
to the woman who had married seven brothers in succession.)
Sometimes the teaching scribe propounded a question, sometimes
the students. When Jesus was asking and answering questions in
the Temple at the age of twelve, he was in the House of Teaching
at one of these disputations.

There is a curious irony in the fact that the Jews in seeking to
save themselves from being overborne by the Greek culture
should have adopted the Hellenic institution of the school for their
children and the Hellenic practice of disputation for their young
men. It is a striking testimony to the tremendous power of that
culture that the one Oriental people who succeeded in freeing
themselves from its influence did so by making use of its educa-
tional methods.


Little is known about Roman education before the Third
Century B.C, The Roman alphabet was borrowed from the
Greek colonists of Magna Graecia at an early time; and from the
fact that the ability to read and write was common among certain
classes in the Fourth Century it may be inferred that definite